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    As the Internet of Things continues to expand, the prospect of developing unique IoT products is something that should, in theory, excite makers, engineers, and hobbyists. However, the process of successfully integrating artificial intelligence, hardware, and software in order to create a viable solution can sometimes take years and millions of dollars to bring to fruition. For a single individual or even a small tech company looking to enter the IoT space, those can be insurmountable barriers to entry.


    After recognizing that startup companies like his faced steep odds in order to successfully compete in such a market, MATRIX Labs CEO and co-founder Rodolfo Saccoman set about devising a solution that would allow companies to bypass years of research and millions of dollars spent developing prototypes that would require additional testing and compliance certifications before being brought to market. The product he ultimately delivered was the MATRIX VoiceMATRIX Voice.


    Building off of the success of the MATRIX CreatorMATRIX Creator, a development board also designed for creating IoT solutions, the MATRIX Voice is a development board that specifically targets the development of speech recognition and virtual assistant technologies. Powered by a Raspberry Pi computer, the MATRIX Voice allows a user to utilize existing software such as Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, or any other voice recognition API, and create unique voice applications.


    A fitting 3.14 inches in diameter, the MATRIX Voice board features a Xilinx Spartan-6 FPGA, 64 Mbit SDRAM, a 7 MEMS microphone array, and 18 LEDs among other features, including an optional Wi-Fi attachmentoptional Wi-Fi attachment depending on the model. 64 GPIO expansion pins—40 of which are used to connect to a Raspberry Pi—allow for additional customization. Beamforming, noise cancellation, far-field speech recognition, and dereverberation capabilities ensure high quality performance for all voice applications.


    When asked about the decision to release the product as open-source technology, Saccoman spoke to the importance of fostering creativity within the global community of engineers and makers, saying, "We want to enable our hardware and accompanying operating systems to allow their solutions, creations, and new companies to succeed. Instead of a company trying to build their own board, they can package our MATRIX Voice, manufacture any kind of casing, and then take their product to market." This community-centric approach is one that Saccoman holds in high esteem as he strives "to democratize the intersection between hardware, AI, and software."


    In pursuit of this goal, Saccoman mentioned that he gleaned some inspiration from the launch of the iPhone in 2007. Similar to the iPhone, Saccoman wanted to release a piece of hardware that utilized software that had some flexibility that would enable users to create apps and other tools with real-world applications. In fact, MATRIX maintains its own App Store, featuring apps that have been created for use with the MATRIX Creator and Voice.


    Moving forward, Saccoman is excited by the prospect of MATRIX Labs being a forerunner of an IoT app economy that he hopes will flourish alongside the Creator and Voice development boards. He's confident in the ability of both products to "provide users, makers, and entrepreneurs with the ability to create hardware products and solutions extremely fast" and efficiently, thereby enabling them to have a better chance of finding success in the IoT market. Saccoman and the team he's assembled are eager to see how makers choose to harness the power of the Voice for domestic and commercial purposes. Declaring "The Internet of Things for Everyone" as the company's adopted slogan, the team at Matrix Labs recognizes that they have their work cut out for them as they attempt to make headway in a market primarily dominated by three tech giants. Nevertheless, their enthusiasm is undeniable and the proven success of the Creator seems to suggest that the Voice will also prove to be a welcome addition to a burgeoning Internet of Things.



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